BELDING — For those looking to buy a home in the city limits of Belding, a fair amount of relief may now be able to come your way.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, members of Belding City Council voted unanimously to approve housing program guidelines from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) Homebuyer Purchase Rehabilitation Program.
“It’s an excellent program,” Belding City Manager Randy DeBruine said. “It offers home buyers in the Belding area a chance to fix up their homes, up to $37,500. It may not be an earth shattering amount, but every little bit helps.”
According to Belding Housing Commission Executive Director Sharon Carlson, that $37,500 offered by the MSHADA’s program will provide up to $10,000 in closing costs and down payments and up to $27,500 in rehabilitation money to eligible purchasers when buying a home in the city limits.
According to DeBruine, purchasers are required to enter a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and can’t make more than 80 percent of the average median household income in Belding.
“We’ve used this program as a tool in the past and it has helped bring people to the Belding area,” DeBruine said. “This year the program is allowing us to distribute $75,000.”
In other news, members of City Council had a first reading of a zoning ordinance that will allow larger signs to be used for businesses along M-44.
“Our sign ordinance requirement for a wall sign was previously 60 square feet,” DeBruine said. “When O’Reilly Auto Parts came to town, they requested a sign that was 123 square feet. City Council granted their request, and it became evident that our restrictions might be a little too restrictive.”
DeBruine said a subcommittee was formed to review the sign ordinance and decided to relax the restrictions, which was approved by the planning commission and read over by City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.
Members of City Council will vote on the proposal at the June 19 meeting.
“We’ve increased the size from 60 square feet to 125 square feet,” DeBruine said. “But this is just for businesses in the M-44 area of town.”
Council members also approved a proposal amending city employee contribution for health insurance.
“Efective July 1, employees will be paying a rate of 12.5 percent instead of the previous 10 percent for their health insurance premiums,” DeBruine said.
According to DeBruine, single health coverage will rise from $405 to $446, two person coverage will increase from $891 to $1,026 and family coverage will increase from $1,114 to $1,227.
DeBruine said the percentages will continue to rise through 2015 on a yearly basis until rates reach 20 percent.
“We would have done this sooner, as the state has passed laws attempting to get puplic employees to go up to 20 percent, but our employees were gracious enough to work under concessions for the last two years, so we waited for those concessions to come to an end.”
Member of city council also recognized Woodview Elementary fifth grade classes with the “Good Neighbor Award” at Tuesday’s meeting.
Elementary teacher Michael Simmons and students Jade Flynn and Anastasia Hintz accepted the award on behalf of the fifth grade classes.
According to Belding Mayor Ron Gunderson, students and teachers picked up trash along Kenwood Avenue, Main Street, Belding Road, Orchard Steeet, Orchard Hills School, Central Riverside Park, Water Street Park and at Demorest Fields.
“These students and teachers picked up nearly 75 large bags of trash throughout the city,” Gunderson said. “The city is very appreciative of all the effort shown by the Woodview fifth grade classes, teachers and parents involved in the clean-up effort.”